Tag: samuel l jackson

MOVIE REVIEW | Django Unchained (2012)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The instant I started watching it again for this review, I was immediately caught up in just as much as the first time around.”

Django 1
“Kill white people and get paid for it? What’s not to like?”

While I consider myself a Quentin Tarantino fan, I definitely like his old stuff better than his new stuff.  I’ve seen Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown plenty of times, and I assume I’ll see them plenty more.  Whereas his work after those are movies I tend to really enjoy at the time, but their impact is fast fading.  Which was my initial reaction to his latest, The Hateful Eight.  But this time, the impact of The Hateful Eight hasn’t faded.  I still find myself thinking about it, a lot.  Which then lead me to thinking that even though I have liked his last few movies, I may have been a little dismissive of them as well.  Which is why I decided to re watch Django Unchained.


Two years before the American Civil War, a band of slaves are being dragged through the cold night when their masters are stopped by a suave, German dentist (Christoph Waltz as Dr King Schultz).  No longer practicing dentistry, Schultz now makes his living as a bounty hunter, and he needs a slave who can identify his latest prey.  One speaks up, claiming he can, so Schultz dispatches the slave traders and departs with the helpful slave, who he makes a free man, Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Chi-Raq (2015)

Chiraq 1
Repeat after me: I will deny all rights of access or entrance.

Many things about Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street blew my mind.  One major aspect was the thought that a dude in his 70s managed to make one of the most vibrant, energetic, visceral, decedent movies of all time.  Whenever I watch a Danny Boyle movie, I can’t help but be impressed by the idea of a bespeckled Brit well into middle age making things that seem like such an epitome of cool.  I have liked a few Spike Lee movies, loved one or two, been underwhelmed by more and I assumed his peak was long ago.  But now, I think he might be hanging on to his own vibrancy as he ages, and he may even have another Do The Right Thing level masterpiece in him, I think he because I just watched Chi-Raq.


In present day Chicago, the murder rate and death toll massively outweigh anything America has experiencing on any of their recent international war fronts.  One of the biggest conflicts is between rival gangs, the Spartans and the Trojans.  Rapper Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon) leads the Spartans, while gangbanger Cyclops (Wesley Snipes) heads up the Spartans.  After a shootout at one of Chi-Raq’s live shows, he tries to move past it by making time with his lady, Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris).  But things are interrupted by a bit of the ol’ arson and drive by. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Hateful Eight (2015)

Hateful 1
Well, well, well! Looks like Minnie’s Haberdashery’s about to get cosy for the next few days.

“The 8th Film by Quentin Tarantino“. That’s a pretty pretentious credit to open your movie with.  Like we should all be thankful that Tarantino has been gracious enough to bless us with eight movies.  That’s what I wanted to think, that his ego and hubris had got away on Tarantino, that his bravado had finally overtaken his talent,  But you know what, as aggravating as it is to admit, Quentin Tarantino’s skill as a writer and director aggravatingly lives up to his own bullshit.  Because the 8th Film by Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight, is an amazingly unique and well executed piece of cinema.


John “the Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) rides through post Civil War America on a stage coach, trying to outrun a blizzard, with his latest bounty (Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dasiy Dermague) in cuffs.  Picking up rival bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) and new sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) along the way, agendas are flying from the get go. (more…)

***2015 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron

“I was designed to save the world. People would look to the sky, and see hope… I’ll take that from them first!”

It seems like we’re getting closer and closer to Marvel universe singularity.  Soon, there’ll only be two kinds of movies, solo superhero movies, and super hero team up movies.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti super hero movies.  The Marvel universe is just too reliably good.  But in the lead up to this latest installment, I was definitely starting to feel a little super hero fatigue.  You can have too much of a good thing.  But, I’m only human, so it was pretty much impossible to not get sucked into seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron.


With a James Bond style cold open, the Avengers, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) are mid mission, raiding a compound of the evil organization, Hydra.   The baddies from Captain America: Winter Soldier, Hydra have managed to score the staff of Loki from Thor: The Dark World.  Once the Avengers secure the staff, Tony Stark decides to see if he can unlock its secrets. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

movies-kingsman-the-secret-service-poster

“Mankind is the virus, and I’m the cure.”

Sometimes, a movie just rubs me the wrong way, sight unseen.  When the trailer first dropped for Kingsman: The Secret Service, I thought it looked like the cheapest, laziest, hackiest, bullshittiest, most cynical, did I mention bullshittiest cash grab, lowest common denominator crap I had ever seen.  Then, I found it was directed by Matthew Vaughn, a dude whose every movie I really, really like.  Then, I found out that it was another collaboration between Vaughn and comic book writer, Mark Millar.  Last time they teamed up was for Kick Ass.  A movie every bit as awesome as it’s Vaughn-less sequel was terrible.


Then, Kingsman came out, made a shit load of money and was reviewed pretty well by critics.  But I still couldn’t bring myself to pay to see it in a cinema.  I’d had my copy at home for a few weeks, but still had no interest in actually a sitting through it.  Until I was home sick from work and wanted to watch something I knew would need little attention and even less brain power.  Which is why I finally I finally saw Kingsman: The Secret Service. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron

“I was designed to save the world. People would look to the sky, and see hope… I’ll take that from them first!”

It seems like we’re getting closer and closer to Marvel universe singularity.  Soon, there’ll only be two kinds of movies, solo superhero movies, and super hero team up movies.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti super hero movies.  The Marvel universe is just too reliably good.  But in the lead up to this latest installment, I was definitely starting to feel a little super hero fatigue.  You can have too much of a good thing.  But, I’m only human, so it was pretty much impossible to not get sucked into seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron.


With a James Bond style cold open, the Avengers, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) are mid mission, raiding a compound of the evil organization, Hydra.   The baddies from Captain America: Winter Soldier, Hydra have managed to score the staff of Loki from Thor: The Dark World.  Once the Avengers secure the staff, Tony Stark decides to see if he can unlock its secrets. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #94. Pulp Fiction (1994)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
PULP-FICTION
True Romance was an amazing debut from a new screenwriter who introduced a new style of wordy, pop culture obsessed dialogue and story telling that was as inspired by high brow, classic cinema, as it was by 70s schlock, as it was by modern day blockbusters. Reservoir Dogs showed that the writer of True Romance had a visual style to back up the words on his pages. But as amazing as that one-two punch introduction was, Quentin Tarantino didn’t declare himself as Hollywood’s newest, loudest, most stylistic voice, until Pulp Fiction.


Fresh off the plane from Amsterdam, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) is on his way to conduct some gangster style business with Jules (Samuel L Jackson). Retrieving a briefcase from some young criminals for their boss Marsellus (Michael Clarke Duncan), Jules and Vincent end up with a headless dead body in the backseat of their car.

But Vincent has a bigger problem. He has to entertain Marsellus’ wife while his boss is out of town. With a fresh story of a man being thrown out of a window due to the jealousy of Marsellus, Vincent approaches the night with some trepidation. When he meets the wife, Uma Thurman as Mia, there’s an instant chemistry between the two that leads to $5 milkshakes and a late night overdose.

Meanwhile, boxer Butch (Bruce Willis) is being paid by Marcellus to throw a fight. A deal he breaks in the hopes of making one big score by betting on himself, before leaving town to start fresh. Once again, Vince is dragged into the situation, once again, things don’t go so well.

Pulp fiction is a movie that I always think is great, but not the mind blower its reputation would have you believe. Then every four or five years I watch it again, and wonder why I never give it the credit it deserves as a mind blower. Even 20 years later, the dialogue is as sharp and kinetic as ever. For a movie so reliant on references and pop culture allusions, I can’t believe how effectively Pulp Fiction refuses to seem dated.

Visually, Tarantino set a new standard that was copied incessantly for a lot of years after, that almost no one could ever emulate in any effective way. And again, I was surprised about how well it holds up. Actually, ‘holds up’ doesn’t do the look of Pulp Fiction justice. Usually when something this ground breaking happens, the unavoidable cheap imitations take some of the shine of the original. Here, it made me appreciate Tarantino’s eye even more.

I like the Tarantino movies that have come since Pulp Fiction (except Death Proof, possibly the biggest wast of movie watching time in my life), but I sometimes think the style is hiding a little lack of substance. Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained are great looking, well written, expertly acted movies, but they seem like movies that know they’re movies. With Pulp Fiction, Tarantino made this amazingly hyper world, but the people living in it seem like real people, really living in it. In a few months, I’ll probably start to think it’s a little over rated again, but right now, I’m already looking forward to that next viewing in four or five years when it blows me away all over again.

Pulp Fiction
Directed By – Quentin Tarantino
Written By – Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary

Academy Awards
Best Picture (nominated, lost to Forrest Gump)
Best Director (Tarantino nominated, lost to Robert Zemeckis for Forrest Gump)
Best Actor (Travolta nominated, lost to Tom Hanks for Forrest Gump)
Best Supporting Actor (Jackson nominated, lost to Martin Landau for Ed Wood)
Best Supporting Actress (Thurman nominated, lost to Dianne Wiest for Bullets Over Broadway)
Best Original Screenplay – Tarantino and Avery  

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #96. Do the Right Thing (1989)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

Do the Right Thing

Love his movies, hate his movies, think he can be a bit hit and miss, never actually seen one… No matter what your experience with the work of Spike Lee might be, there’s no denying that he’s one of the most important film makers of the last few decades. Of the twenty odd feature films he’s made, I’ve seen around ten, and liked maybe three or four. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the impact and influence he’s had on the industry, and other directors and writers who’ve come up since. But even if every single other movie he made was undeniably terrible, he would still deserve a revered place in cinema history, purely for Do the Right Thing.


It’s a sweltering day in Brooklyn, and Mookie (Spike Lee) makes his way back and forth across the neighbourhood, delivering pizzas for Sal (Danny Aiello). Set over a single day, this small community slowly unravels under the oppressive heat. A small community made up of characters like Carlos Esposito’s hot headed Buggin’ Out, Bill Nunn’s Radio Raheem, Sal’s sons Pino (John Turturro) and Vito (Richard Edson), Ossie Davis as the local drunk ‘Mayor’, and Rosie Perez as Mookie’s girlfriend Tina. (more…)

***2014 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-HD-Wallpaper1

When I was really young, I loved Superman as much as any kid of the male variety.  I assume it comes with the dude DNA.  But it didn’t take long before I grew out of it.  Everything about Superman was just too simple.  He was so all powerful that there were never any real physical threats.  And he was so pure, there was never any inner turmoil or conflict.  It was a strong assumption of the same attributes that made me never pay any attention to Captain America.


But in the lead up to The Avengers a couple of years ago, I thought I should watch the movies that all worked as its intro, so I churned through Thor, the Ed Norton Hulk and the first Cap movie in an intense binge, and was surprised by how much I liked them all, especially Captain America: The First Avenger.  But what I loved most about that movie, was the WWII setting.  And after finding Cap the least interesting character in The Avengers, I wasn’t in any hurry to see his next movie, set totally in present day.  So, how do you make the idealistic, honourable, always-does-the-right-thing, good guy interesting?  Easy, you turn the world against him. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-HD-Wallpaper1

When I was really young, I loved Superman as much as any kid of the male variety.  I assume it comes with the dude DNA.  But it didn’t take long before I grew out of it.  Everything about Superman was just too simple.  He was so all powerful that there were never any real physical threats.  And he was so pure, there was never any inner turmoil or conflict.  It was a strong assumption of the same attributes that made me never pay any attention to Captain America.


But in the lead up to The Avengers a couple of years ago, I thought I should watch the movies that all worked as its intro, so I churned through Thor, the Ed Norton Hulk and the first Cap movie in an intense binge, and was surprised by how much I liked them all, especially Captain America: The First Avenger.  But what I loved most about that movie, was the WWII setting.  And after finding Cap the least interesting character in The Avengers, I wasn’t in any hurry to see his next movie, set totally in present day.  So, how do you make the idealistic, honourable, always-does-the-right-thing, good guy interesting?  Easy, you turn the world against him.

On a mission with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Steve Rogers (AKA Captain America), begins to realise that his employer S.H.I.E.L.D, lead by Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury, might not have the same idealistic, honourable, always-does-the-right-thing, good guy intentions as himself.  This is where we meet Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a suit, high up in the World Security Council, who’s about to launch three massive air battle stations that will stop criminals and threats, before they commit crimes or become a threat.

This is a little too ‘big brother’ for Rogers.  Soon, Fury’s being attacked, Rogers and Black Widow are on the run, and it turns out  that S.H.I.E.L.D has been steadily infiltrated by a group of baddies known as Hydra, for last few decades.  Also, there’s a bad guy named the Winter Soldier, who’s really just more of an annoyance than a formidable villain.  Buggers me why he gets his name in the title.

Without the WWII setting, without the support of Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk, without a big, famous bad guy from the comics, Captain America: The Winter Soldier really delivers.  Chris Evans as Cap nails the tricky balance of all American 40s hero, and modern day, super hero.  While the skin tight cat suit can take some of the credit, Johansson’s more than just a bombshell.  She makes Black Widow a really fun ass kicker.  New addition to this Marvel movie universe, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson (AKA the Falcon), bounces of off them both perfectly.  And as an unnamed World Security Council member, Alan Dale gives me a great excuse to link to my review of Houseboat Horror.

The brothers Russo, Anthony and Joe, seemed like a weird, out of nowhere pick to direct something this massive.  Before now, they had two movie credits to their names, the totally under seen and under appreciated Welcome to Collinwood, and the understandably under seen and since forgotten, You, Me and Dupree.  Their major successes had been on the small screen, most notably with the totally awesome Arrested Development and the totally overrated Community.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why a studio would take this chance on such an important, tent pole movie by giving it to these two TV veterans.  Then I realised it’s not such a wild choice.  Arrested Development and Community are both so heavily reliant on meticulous timing to make their jokes work.  The kind of meticulous timing that’s needed to pull off big, action set pieces.

The hiring of the Russo brothers also points to another decision the big studios seem to be getting increasingly right with comic book movies.  They’re less and less being given to big budget hacks like Michael Bay and Brett Ratner, and more and more being given to not to just comic book nerds, but real film nerds.  The kinds of film nerds who worship the 70s cinema of people like Scorsese, Coppola and Friedkin, and bring that 70s grit to these glossy, modern behemoths.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier is big, loud, dumb, fun, action.  But it’s big, loud, dumb, fun, action done right.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Directed By – Anthony RussoJoe Russo
Written By – Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely